Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I had been putting off seeing Maleficent because I knew it was a re-telling of a familiar fairy tale and I wasn’t sure I was up to it.

While the other updates on fairy tales are about girl power and taking control of your own destiny, this one goes a step further to a darker place. Something is taken from our lead character that can never be replaced and then she is treated as the villain for wanting revenge.

MaleficentHere Angelina Jolie plays a fairy who is the protector of her world which lies next to a human kingdom. The humans can see this wonderful magical area and want to take it over. But Maleficent won’t allow it, using trees for her army. The king is furious and wants her destroyed.

Only one man in his circle knows how to do this and Stephan uses knowledge from his shared childhood with Maleficent to make sure she cannot fight as strongly as she did that day. It is a great betrayal that leads to a curse on her part and maddening obsession his. And it ends with a battle royal on the day of his daughter’s 16th birthday.

If this retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story is anything, it is beautifully photographed with rich colors and well done CGI. The sets and costuming brings one into the time period as well. I enjoyed that aspect. What bothers me is the motivation for the curse, the reason behind everything which is upsetting and unsettling. I have seen and read re-told tales. Is that what Wicked is after all, tell the story from the Wicked Witch of the West’s point of view?

It is not just what was taken from Maleficent but by whom it was done, a most trusted friend. It reminds me of too many real cases of theft of this sort and how the victim is always made to be the villain in the story. It is not a movie for the younger crowd, better viewing and understanding will happen with the younger teens and older because of the context of the movie. I would be prepared to answer questions at the end.

On the lighter end of the spectrum, Zootopia comes out on DVD this week. When I first heard of this movie, I was not impressed. It took hearing a few friends’ reviews and watching it for myself to really fall in love.

ZootopiaThe story is about a bunny who lives in the country and dreams of being a police office. Not just any police force, she wants to land on the police department of the large capitol city, Zootopia. And when she does, Judy is not given the most exciting job. However, soon enough she is knee deep into an investigation that starts off being about a missing animal and leads into something much bigger.

Judy, it turns out, is quite resourceful especially when she blackmails fox Nick Wilde to help get into places she can’t otherwise. The action is fast paced, characters are well drawn and interesting, and Judy’s optimism is infectious. The other big plus is the theme song by Shakira who voices Gazelle in the movie. Every time that song comes on the radio, my minivan rocks.

While this is a great kids movie, be aware that if your pre-school child is scared by loud roars and some aggressive behavior, they may not enjoy this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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